close

September 2016

Innovation & Business

So glad to be here!

image 5

Hi! My name is Yael Rose and I am so glad to be here.

I love reading Life Grid articles and I am delighted to become a contributor.

What you can expect from me?

Real talk about real life of a married mother of 5 and business coach from London.

The triumphs, the struggles, my reflections and business insights. All rolled into one crazy big life.

Hope to connect with you soon!

Yael xx

read more
Personal Growth

Life without a comfort zone

ComfortZone

One of the greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments you can have in your life is realising that you do the same things every day but secretly hope that things will change.

Most of us are so enmeshed in our comfort zones that we operate completely on auto-pilot and don’t even think about what we’re doing – or why.

It’s often only after a traumatic event that we take the time to stop and have a look at how we’re living – and usually only then because we are forced to stop.

I was one of these people. I pushed myself too hard for too long and my mind and body collaborated to force me to stop. I was dropped with such a force and from such a height that I could not get up. I went from a fully functioning, high-powered, award-winning executive to being on the floor, shattered into a million pieces and unable to stop crying in the space of an hour.

For me, everything ground to a halt in the blink of an eye. For the first time in my life I had nothing I had to do, nowhere I had to be, and no one relying on me for anything. I couldn’t function in everyday life. I couldn’t communicate with people around me.  Suddenly, I was in the unfamiliar territory of having nothing else to do but things for myself.

I was used to being busy. I was doing everything for everyone else until I had nothing left to give – and then I kept going. My life was passing me by and I had no idea. I was well and truly in my ‘comfort zone’.

But then I started questioning all the different things in my life. And I was left wondering whether it was actually a ‘comfort zone’ or whether I was actually in a massive ‘rut’.

When I looked at what was in my comfort zone I realised that it was full of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t really all that comfortable. I was exhausted trying to run around making sure everyone else was okay. I was tired, stressed and miserable.

So why did I stay in the same day-to-day choices, living the same day-to-day life without making any changes? I pondered this question a lot during my recovery and the only answer I came up with was this: because I was afraid of failing.

Being forced to stop gave me the opportunity to step away from all of the expectations in my life. I dropped every ball I was juggling and was unable to pick any of them up.

What I realised during my recovery was that my comfort zone was something that I had imposed on myself.

I could come up with a thousand reasons why I had to do all the things I was doing, but at the end of the day everything in my life was of my own creation. I was exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed and it was a direct result of the way I had chosen to live my life.

Realising this taught me to start asking questions about how I could do things differently. A lot of people will tell you that change is too hard and that to get out of your comfort zone you have to make uncomfortable choices. I like to view this differently, because in my opinion doing something uncomfortable sounds like introducing more stress and exhaustion into my life.

I prefer to look at life like an adventure. Every day is an opportunity to explore and find new ways of doing, seeing and thinking about things. Using this thought process I made the choice to try life without a comfort zone.

To do this, I removed the words ‘success’ and ‘failure’ from my dictionary and decided that for everything I did I would view it as an adventure. So, when I try something new – whether for business or for personal reasons – I do it with a view of exploring to see where it goes. If it doesn’t work I can step back and look at it from different angles to see whether it needs a simple tweak or a total overhaul.

The focus of every day is now about having fun and seeing where my imagination can take me. I approach everything with a mindset of ‘…if it works, then great, the adventure continues; if it doesn’t work, then also great, the adventure continues albeit in a different way’.

My life is much simpler now that it doesn’t have a comfort zone. Every day I get to go to new places, find new information, engage in new and different conversations. And the best bit? I get to do it in a way that supports the life I want to live and the person I want to be.

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’. Want to chat? Follow my social links below.

 

read more
Personal Growth

Mastering Dominant Thoughts

dominant thoughts

LOA5

Too much negativity with our thoughts can create negative patterns for us. So don’t fret or worry about negative thoughts that may pop up every now and then, it is just human nature. Remember you are in charge of yourself and your thoughts. You are more powerful than your thoughts combined and yet, your thoughts have the ability to inscribe a new reality for you.

There is often a delay between the manifestation of one’s desires and wants. This is not a bad thing as the delay in manifestation allows us to re-think our desires and needs. This allows us to re-asses what we really want in life so we can make corrections if needed.

We are responsible for manifesting what we want in our lives. If you are currently manifesting bad things in your life, then this is due to your negative thoughts. So you now have the chance to change your life by changing your stream of thoughts.

Thoughts increase exponentially through time – and if you focus hard enough, whatever you are thinking of will be attracted by virtue of the Law of Attraction.

Mastering one’s mind entails complete awareness of all the thoughts that you create on a daily basis. I highly recommend that you try any form of meditation on a daily basis to help clear your mind and master your thoughts. This will help clear your mind of confusing thoughts so then you can begin to create affirmative thoughts to manifest the things that you love in life.

Remember no matter what you want if it is wealth, health, better relationships etc the Law of Attraction will attract whatever you want in life.

Fulfil your life, live your dreams and create your destiny.

read more
Exercise & Fitness

Why do we feel guilty when taking time out?

Do something for yourself

There seems to be a common thread that is present among so many women I speak to about that’s been worrying me lately.

Worried because I feel so many more feel this way too but are not telling anyone!

This underlying issue is this unwavering ‘guilt’ that women have when wanting to do something for themselves.

The guilt I’m talking about rears its ugly head when decisions need to made that will interrupt the status-quo of ‘being there’ for everyone… everyone being family and work mostly.

We feel this underlying sense of needing to be there for everyone else’s stuff, and of course we do have responsibilities that need handling…but to the detriment of who?

Ourselves.

We are willing to do so much, pretty much anything to help and support family, friends, work obligations, but at what cost?

By constantly saying ‘yes’ to everyone and everything we start to push down our own needs time and time again.

This results in a snowball effect whereby we start to get angry at the smallest things, perhaps lack motivation, start to eat poorly and give up on our own wellbeing.

This has to stop!

At what point did we become ok with letting our own health and wellbeing slide?

What do we get out of ‘being there’ for everyone else but ourselves?

It ends up being a downhill spiral- mentally, physically, emotionally.

Not a good place to be.

My suggestion (if you have experienced this) is:

  1. Remember WHY you need to take care of yourself – to be there at your best for family, friends and work. When you can identify with why you need to be there, you can flip your perspective and exchange the guilt for positive reasoning.
  2. Allow your self to be ok with taking time out to exercise, go for a massage, go away on a retreat or do something you enjoy. This will lift your spirits and help you re-energise.
  3. Now that you have done steps 1 and 2- mark out in your diary 3 x 30 minute blocks where you can exercise, meditate, go for a walk or book that massage. And ASK for help from those around you to make it happen.

No making changes within your mindset takes times, so each day remind yourself of these 3 simple steps, and OWN the feeling of being positively ‘proactive’ towards your health and wellbeing.

After all, if something happens to you because you choose to neglect your self, then what?

Make a decision today to be kind to yourself and stop wasting energy on guilt. It’s only a story in your mind anyway!

Until next time,

Power to your Core,

Vanessa Bartlett

www.vanessabhealth.com

Pilates Teacher, Presenter, Journalist

Follow me : @vanessabhealth

(Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

 

read more
Health & Beauty

NO MORE BANDAID SOLUTIONS FOR THIS LITTLE BODY

NO MORE BANDAID SOLUTIONS FOR THIS LITTLE BODYFotorCreated

In a world that SCREAMS to us

“Be More – Do More – To Have More”

are we so focused on the PRIZE that we have forgotten to get in tune with our bodies (our precious vessels).

I for one, have certainly been guilty of this!

How often are our bodies telling us that they are out of balance and, we just simply CHOOSE to ignore what starts out as gentle CLUES, because we are just too busy.

How many dis-eases and terminal illnesses could we prevent just by learning how to nurture our basic body systems – such as the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous and endocrine systems.  We are like a giant test tube with over 30 trillion cells.

Imagine that.

And what about the mental health crisis we are experiencing.  Although Our brain has an astounding ability to process, store, and route information, the increase in mental health issues, I believe are EXACERBATED by a complete overload.  We cannot constantly be more and do more!  We just cannot.  We are human.

What signs do you have?  Perhaps it’s an ear ache, a headache, a rash, indigestion, constipation, aching joints.  Which of your basic body systems needs attention immediately?  Not a band aid solution but looking at the source of the problem.

When we have a head ache, our body is NOT saying

“I am pain-killer deficient”!

It is giving us a clue that something is not right, and we need to work out what that is and take the appropriate steps to make it right.

It is likely in fact telling us that we are not sufficiently hydrated.

What are the long term consequences of all these band aid solutions, or us choosing to simply ignore the gentle clues?   Perhaps you are MASKING the symptoms by taking pharmaceutical medications (when not necessary).

When we take the time to stop and listen and check in with our “knowing” we actually already know the answer, we just often CHOOSE to ignore it.

I believe one of the biggest problems we have these days is the “Comparison Game”!!!

It’s easy to perceive that the next person looks the way we would like to look, drives the vehicle we would like to drive, lives in the house we would like to own, and basically is the person we would like to be.  What?????

What happened to HONOURING OURSELVES,

and our own uniqueness.

Who cares what ABC is doing, when you have been created as a XYZ – you will never be the same.   A higher being made you just the way you are supposed to be, so stop playing the comparison game, stop trying to keep up, and listen to your OWN body!

I wonder how many of us have complex health issues, now, because we did not listen to the gentle clues.

Stop and listen, regularly!  It will be worth it.

 

read more
Family Matters

Taking Responsibility for the First Time in My Life

_DSC5759

Have you any idea of the incredible impact that taking full responsibility for yourself and your actions could have on your life?

Fast approaching the age of 50 I still hadn’t grasped this until I was put in a position to either sever all ties with my parents or change myself. By deciding to change myself first, not my mother and not our relationship I had to take full responsibility for who I was for the first time in my life. Take a moment and think about your relationships, do you blame others, make excuses and play the victim? These all play a part in stopping you take on that responsibility for yourself.

  • Blame is one of the things I continually did consciously and subconsciously for years. When anything went wrong it was never my fault (always my mother’s in my case) so I could say that she had failed, not me. When I made some very poor financial decisions in my life they were of course my mother’s fault……it was my upbringing so she should sort it out. By doing this I gave mum some of my control; I couldn’t move forwards and I ended up resenting her even more.
  • Focusing on what went wrong in my life left me continually criticising my mother for everything that didn’t work out making everything seem much worse. This became a habit for me and over time I automatically only saw the negative in any situation.
  • I very much became the martyr with all the blaming, making excuses and complaining I was doing taking no responsibility whatsoever for anything that happened to me. I felt I had no influence over myself or others and became very helpless.

The very first day I started to take responsibility for my life, I took back some of my control.

Here’s a few of the steps I took which you can implement today, once you decide to be in charge of your life.

  • Accept who you are right now; you are the way you are because of your own thoughts and patterns, not other people’s.
  • You don’t need to be happy with this, just accept it.
  • Understand only you can make yourself happy, don’t expect, depend or rely on others for this
  • Forgive yourself – this was a big one for me, but people make mistakes and move on. It helped me to know that i had made the best decision I could at the time with all the information I had.
  • Forgive others, don’t blame them and don’t hold a grudge against them, they are on their journey, focus back on yourself
  • Let go of the need to be responsible for others, it is not your job to make them happy, as it isn’t their job to make you happy.
  • You always have a choice as to how you react to a situation and if it is your decision to focus on the positive, no one else can take this away from you.
  • Accept the blame if you’re wrong, take that risk and don’t be scared to mess up, it’s all a learning curve and how you learn.

I am still on my journey and accepting responsibility can be a lifelong process but the benefits are incredible as you really do develop an incredible sense of freedom and purpose in life.

Accepting responsibility for my life, my actions and my behaviour was the beginning of the healing process I went through, after suffering from years of pain and heartache with my mother.

Wherever you are on your journey I encourage you all to think about this today – it just could change your life!

read more
Retail Therapy

The Fake Entrepreneur: Five Ways to Tell

black-and-white-people-bar-men

“Walking into a room filled with those in business attire.

When a business professional approaches you with a big smile, wants to hear all about your life, dreams and business goals.

Suddenly this business professional is one of the few people who is amped and excited for your business and wants to partner with you, they have a business opportunity that is perfect for you that will give you networking opportunities and the potential for financial and time freedom. As a sole trader – you’re stoked! All those unpaid hours of labours of love have paid off right?”

Skip forward a few months to discover that this person was not excited about your own unique products or skills – they were excited about using your personal brand to earn them money.

Introducing the fake entrepreneur.

Whether you have had a business collaboration that went askew, been apart of networking marketing ventures with a bad culture or just been blind sighted by a chance that seemed too good to be true – Many who deal in modern business have run into the fake entrepreneur.

So what makes a fake entrepreneur?

They only want to capitalise on your personal brand and reach

As mentioned above, the fake entrepreneur’s only skill is head hunting. They are the perfect recruiter however they are not recruiting. Recruiting means that you are bringing someone on to utilise their current skills to fulfil a job description. What the fake entrepreneur does is study you online – finds out your strengths and weaknesses and then will be all over you until you accept their proposition. Remember you are their trophy kill and they will do or say anything to gain access to your reach and personal brand. This directly disrespects anything you have built up or created and a true entrepreneur does not do business with a head hunter with no respect for true commodities.

They have no actual experience in business but have industry experience

Heard the term “fake it till you make it”, well the fake entrepreneur takes this to the extreme. I have seen social media posts where individuals will overstate their level of expertise in an industry. One such example was a photo of an individual sitting with doctors and other allied health professionals and claiming they were of equal calibre but when viewing their linked in profile – they had an entry level patient care position.

This overstating of expertise can lead to a myriad of potential risks.

The fake entrepreneur will also have no experience in business itself. Sure they may have run a family run business or have a network marketing business but have they built a business from scratch, without mentoring or proven systems to go on to turn a profit?

There is a difference between authentic small business and authentic big business – the fake entrepreneur likes to be the big fish in the small business fish bowl.

 

They have no class

Yes, the word entrepreneur gets bandied around a lot these days however what sets a fake entrepreneur apart is that they have no class.

Again the fake it till you make it extremes come out and they act like they are earning a six figure income whilst still living off of government payments.

Class is something that cannot be taught and even if the fake entrepreneur did make a six figure income – their lack of class is not something that could be fixed with money.

The fake entrepreneur will blur out their roots, their beginnings in a bid to morph into the persona they believe to be their own image of success. When one forgets their roots  – they become flakey and flakey is not classy.

 

They have no business acumen

Many fake entrepreneurs do not know how to conduct themselves in business. Conducting dodgy business deals and practices, believing that it will lead to a short cut to success but ends in the fake entrepreneur revealing their lack of business acumen. This is due to a lack of business accountability because…again…faking it till you make it taken to the extreme. All of this could be solved by the fake entrepreneur remaining transparent but this goes against the fake entrepreneurs agenda.

Also name dropping!

This is a slightly lesser version of how they head hunt to capitalise on your personal brand. The fake entrepreneur will compulsively blow out of proportion the business partnerships they do or do not have in a bid to establish themselves as an entrepreneur. Desperate anyone?

 

They overdose on self development

Now self development is not a bad thing – In the right doses.

The fake entrepreneur will overdose or even become addicted to self development. An excess of self development does not equal a well rounded entrepreneur but one who may need to address some key issue before jumping into any business partnerships or business promotions.

Also the snobbery that comes with going to certain self development courses!

That’s a cool story that the fake entrepreneur maxxed out their credit card to go live out their grandiose delusion for a weekend but in day to day life – Did they implement anything they learnt or did they go for bragging rights?

 

Many authentic entrepreneurs are getting tired of the fluffy and fake entrepreneurs.

 

If you are an authentic entrepreneur – then subscribe to the No Fluffy – 100% RAW e – newsletter for the authentic entrepreneur that wants to cut to the chase and No Fluffy.

 

 

 

read more
Language of Love

The Greatest Marriage in the World

Relationship-Coaching-Marriage-Counselling-Karen-Offord

A powerful statement;

(___your name___) and (___partners name___) have the greatest marriage in the world!

For some this is a beautiful reality,

For others only a dream, a wish,

And others feel it’s impossible,

Allow me to start by sharing a short story,

It was over a decade ago, at a rather elegant and extravagant event that I met them.

They were a beautiful couple; confident, talented, wealthy, humble and inspirational! They looked so happy and so in love. Their energy congruent with their words and actions. It was hard to take your eyes off them as they interacted on and off stage.

This couple had it together and I was captivated listening to them speak.

They began sharing a few funny stories, past experiences and life as they experienced it now (well back then) with all its privileges, adventure, and fun. Then they began to share the path that lead them to where they were today.

I listened to them both talk about their early days together. A newly married couple with young children, struggling desperately; financially and emotionally. They didn’t know what to do but they knew they were sinking. Miserable and on the verge of splitting up, as it seemed like the only option and imminent.

But together they made a decision, one last attempt to try and re-kindle the love they believed was still there, somewhere. They had experienced it before, it was just buried underneath a pile of anger, exhaustion, doubts and fears.

I don’t remember much about that event besides their one choice and a simple affirmation.

They shared the story of how they simply wrote on their bathroom mirror;

  • What they wanted to have,
  • What they wanted to believe,
  • What they wanted to feel.

They wrote “Loren and Sandra have the greatest marriage in the world”

I remember way back then thinking what a simple but powerful idea. 

Every morning they would see it, at first not believing it and resisting, but taking it in each day. They made a conscious choice and consistently focused on a powerful affirmation  (a declaration that something is or will be).

Our minds are amazing! and will bring into being that which we focus on, be it good or bad.

If your marriage or relationship is struggling; choose to do something today, don’t wait, don’t worry – just do! Take action and create the greatest marriage in the world, because you can!

Start with printing out the image below. Fill it in – pin it up – somewhere you’ll see it everyday.

  • Take it in, every – single – day!
  • Talk about it together and share why it is so important to you both! What will ‘having the greatest marriage in the world’ mean for your life, your future, your children. 
  • Then start taking action every day to make it real and bring it into being.

By action – I mean; Along with seeing your affirmation everyday; do something thoughtful, kind, loving for your partner. Read, grow, learn, every day to become the very best version of you. Focus on all the things you’re already grateful for in your partner (no matter how small) and you’ll start to see even more things to be grateful for. Be sure to tell them too!

You can also check out:

  • My wonderful ‘memorable moments together’ website page
  • My ‘Fun Free Quiz for Couples’ website page 
  • Dr Gary Chapman’s book & DVD ‘The 5 Love Languages’
  • And the beautiful story by Michael D Hargrove ‘Don’t Hope Decide’

As a Relationship Coach and Marriage Counsellor I have seen some of the most amazing, beautiful relationship transformations! 

This is your life, don’t waste a minute of it unhappy, unfulfilled or struggling.

Make your relationship worthy of a Legend.

Have-the-Greatest-Marriage-in-the-world-Karen-Offord

Not married – all good – you can use the image below!

Have-the-greatest-relationship-in-the-world-Karen-Offord

read more
Wisdom & Spirit

Who am I ? The foundational question behind our existence.

10906555_10153107340011209_4991206320074041117_n

If you want to know who I am, I can’t tell you that. Throughout my life, whenever people have asked me questions like “who are you” or “what do you do”, I have always felt a little puzzled. Of course, I have answered, but no answer I have ever given has felt authentic because quite frankly, I don’t know who I am. Whilst I have been on a “spiritual” journey for a quite a few years now (even though technically I have been on it since the beginning of time, as to me, to be spiritual, or to have spirit, is simply to be alive with life), I now know less about myself than when I started. Yet, the paradox is, that despite knowing less about myself, I actually know more. Why? Because after doing a full circle, I now have the answer to life’s greatest teaching: life is not something to be known, it is something to be experienced.

Whilst I could tell you that I am a writer and that I have been studying for years, with a repertoire of Physiotherapy, Yoga therapy, Buddhism, Tantra and various energy healing courses amongst life’s learning’s itself, these things are not who I am.

My journey has been one where I have unlearned my beliefs of who I am to come back to acknowledging that life is in fact a great mystery and who I am is equally a part of that. It has been a journey where I have learnt that to fall into the mystery of life is to actually fall in love with the mystery. To fall into the unknown is to surpass the boundaries of life to move into the boundlessness.

My journey has been one where I have dropped the need to be anyone and instead, have taken my rights back to simply just enjoy whatever it is that I am doing right here, right now. I have discovered that we are not here to fulfil a purpose other than to experience and enjoy life. Many will claim that they are here to fulfil a specific mission, but what I have come to realise in my own journey, is that “purpose” is a way of trying to draw meaning from an existence which is meaningless and when I say meaningless, I really mean that it only seeks to fulfil itself, not a purpose. It is in fact in the meaningless that we find meaning. It is when we drop all pursuits and when we stop trying to find “who we are” that we actually find what we are looking for: the essence that comes with playing with and enjoying life.

The reason I say this, is because whilst I offer a variety of services, from workshops to healing sessions and “spiritual” mentoring, ie. mentoring people to discover the joy in life, fundamentally, what I ACTUALLY do is that I have fun and I enjoy life. As this is what I do, this is also the essence of what I teach.

I am currently writing a book on my experiences with my journey, which I am looking at getting published early 2017. I also offer pop up workshops and events, teaching people how to unlearn their beliefs of who they think they are so that they can come back to the freedom of who they truly are, which is simply a fun, loving person who is here to experience the beauty of what life has to offer. I also work with plant medicines, such as Cacao and Doterra therapeutic grade essential oils, as I have found these to be powerful remedies to connect people back to the essence of who they truly are.

If you would like any more information on what I do, head to my website www.sigourneybelle.com or follow https://www.facebook.com/sigourneybelle on facebook or sigourney.weldon on instagram.

read more
Personal Growth

Building Better Relationships Begins With Yourself

Relationships_500px

One of the big areas that forms part of my Mindfulness teaching is how connected we are and that understanding this helps us to realize we are not alone. This especially pertinent for many of my clients who are chronic pain sufferers, have a long-term illness or stress/anxiety which can make them feel isolated and alone.

I draw on my own personal journey of developing greater self-compassion and how that has helped my to build better, more authentic relationships at work and beyond.

Everyone here knows what a good relationship feels like! It’s visceral. We are biologically wired to read each other body’s. Not just at a physical level but at a subtler and more complex level that lies at the root of lasting empathy and social connection. This process is called ‘resonance’ and is so automatic and rapid that it occurs subconsciously. Like an acute sounding board our brains echo what others do and feel. The so-called ‘mirror neurons’ that are a key to empathy so when someone smiles you automatically smiles and when someone frowns well… you know what happens.

Before you have begun talking to someone you’ve downloaded loads of information about them on a subconscious level. As Paula Niedenthal, Professor of Psychology at Wisconsin-Madison “We are programmed to read each other’s states so we can more appropriately interact, empathise or assert our boundaries according to the situation. The primary function of this brain area is to alert us to threats to our survival. It makes you realize how powerful and important social connection is.

We’re hard wired to be social creatures and as women we have a head start, social connection and friendship are part of our genetic heritage. Our hunter gatherer society women formed communities to protect their families. It’s less of survival of the fittest and more of survival of the ‘kindest or most connected’. In fact Darwin used the word ‘love’ 95 times and ‘survival of the fittest’ only twice. The natural order of things is to connect and build relationships in order to survive.

Often it’s the little social moments, the chit chat that we engage in that builds stronger relationships. Sometimes in our busyness and task focused environments we can dismiss these moments as time wasting. Increasingly technological environments, where it’s easier to email or Facebook your colleague or friends than to talk to them we need to make space for those little moments.

Twelve years ago I migrated to Australia and everything had to start again. There is nothing like setting foot in a new place with no family, no networks and where your past was kind of interesting but not more relevant beyond that it demonstrated skills. It was like being reborn and to be honest it was also a little scary. I’d invested a lot to come to Australia and felt under-pressure for this move to work. I was pretty scared of failing and that doesn’t help relationship building. Fear is definitely the enemy of great relationships and so the relationships I had with colleagues and friends were a little transactional rather than connected and empathetic.

A colleague of mine gave me some really straight feedback and this was definitely an ‘aha’ moment. More than anything in my rush to make everything work perfectly I was trying to connect but I wasn’t actually making myself available to build relationships. I was going through the motions. Two crucial things weren’t working I wasn’t listening to others and I was closing myself off from deeper connections on which great relationships are founded. In fact I was finding relationships stressful and was getting stuck in my head, working out what I was going to say next and not attending to other person. In addition I was avoiding the unstructured moments where real connection could occurs. I was using the need to rush to the next meeting, to go to pick up from childcare as a way to avoid having that coffee or after-work drink where I could be ‘me’ and build more authentic relationships.

The first steps on the journey for me was to build greater self-awareness that wasn’t just a head driven mental thing but developing the capability to bring my awareness back to a physical experience in the body. I got back into yoga and using simple mindfulness exercises where I could learn to listen to how my body responded to people and situations. I began to pay attention on purpose to the present moment. In building that attention I began to listen to others, make space for them as well as learning to able to make choices about I how responded to people. I learnt to trust in myself, and in so doing more authentic relationships started to unfold. The biggest hurdle was to develop greater self-compassion. I suppose like a lot of women we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others and in my case I wasn’t making any room my nervousness/anxiety to do well, or acknowledging my introvert nature.

Now I would say that my relationships with people are more honest, I can stand up to difficult situations but from a more centred place. I can say No to things without feeling guilty, I stay open to people who are making themselves available to me, wanting to builder a deeper relationship and I can step away from relationships that are ‘toxic’. This is self-compassion. In return I notice people are kinder to me and more willing to go out on a limb for me.
This an ever unfolding journey but if I was to point anyone towards some key areas for building better relationships that have worked for me these are some of them:

1. Find the Good in Yourself
This is summarised by Rick Hanson, American psychologist.
Let be: be mindful and present without automatically reacting
Let go: acknowledge when things or people are difficult and choose to shift your awareness to more positive and sustaining emotions, thoughts and feelings
Let in: seek out the ‘good ’in you and decide to rest your awareness there so you grow and develop stronger positive emotions

2. Body Language Matters
When we make contact with someone we should come to that space from a connected and loving perspective. Slow down, take the other person ‘ín’, be open and self-aware. Use eye contact as the crucial first step for and smiling is a close second these are first positive steps towards openness, courage and the willingness to go out on a limb. The well-known fact that it’s not just what you say but how you say it matters, Body language matters and working towards creating a positive feedback loop.

3. Cultivate Curiosity.
We’re all naturally curious. Watch any child and you’ll see that in action. Learn to embody curiosity. Roll back your shoulder, relax your body, take a risk, and ask a questions beyond the superficial. If the person seems hesitant encourage them to open up without being personal. In response to their answers experience how you feel, engage that the sense of wonder that follows from this action. Be grateful for the connection and express true appreciation for connection.

4. Another’s Shoes
Take on the perspective of the other person. Too often we’re about creating separateness and cynicism is rife in our culture. We seem to focus on finding reasons not to like people instead of reasons to like them. Shut that cynical voice off, and concentrate on looking for the good in any person. For one thing, that keeps you from writing someone off too soon, but more importantly, when you expect the best from people, they’re likely to deliver it. Instead think this person is just like me, “cognitive empathy”, you can perceive the edges between you and the other person as porous without losing your personal autonomy even if you don’t agree with them you can acknowledge their viewpoint.

5. Pay More Mindful Attention.
One giant thing that keeps us from connecting with other people is that we don’t really listen. Instead, we’re thinking while the other person is talking. We’re so focused on what we’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect us down the road that we fail to hear what’s really being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. You must turn off this inner voice if you want to connect deeply with people. So what if you forget what you were going to say or if the conversation moves in a different direction before you have a chance to make your point. If your real goal is to connect with a person, you have to shut off your own soundtrack long enough to focus on what they’re telling you.

6. Be Willing to Be Vulnerable
Its not wrong to show your vulnerability, resist the urge to make yourself look just as good (if not better). Doing so may stroke your ego, but it doesn’t help you to connect with them.

The good news is we’re programmed to connect and if we give ourselves the space and the compassion this can happen.

 

read more